Monday, October 28, 2013

ARC Review The Scent of Pine Lara Vapnyer

The Scent of PineThe Scent of Pine by Lara Vapnyar
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I went into this book very intrigued about the main characters past and was excited to learn why her summer as a camp counselor bothered her as much as it did. Lena is in the midst of a mid-life crisis, her career isn't where she thought it would be, her relationship with her husband is falling apart and she feels lost. During an academic conference she meets Ben and is oddly drawn to him, the pair share a ride home and embark on a weekend long affair at his cabin in the woods of Maine. Lena begins to share the story of her summer as a camp counselor during their drive and once at the remote cabin the woods help her to share her story. Ben helps her to reconcile her memories and bring about a new awareness of what happened.
And here is my biggest issue with this book, nothing really happened. Lena alludes at the beginning that she was a femme fatele, she was anything but that. The mysterious disappearances were never that mysterious and the spooky stories the kids shared, not that spooky. This camp sounded boring and awful. Lena's revelation to Ben regarding her husband was also no mystery - she knew the truth all along. The graphic novel that Ben shared that brought about all the revelations was also to much of a coincidence.
My other issue was the relationship between Lena and Ben, I didn't feel the connection and the way it unfolded felt sort of forced. Once at the cabin the drawings they made disgusted me. Ben came off like a dirty greasy old man, sort of a predator, I doubt their relationship will continue.
I found this book to be pointless, when I finished I felt like there really was no story at all.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for a fair reveiw

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Monday, October 21, 2013

ARC Review I Shall Be Near to You Erin Lindsay McCabe

This is a really quick review of a really fantastic novel - I seriously have MAJOR book hangover and will be mulling this novel over for a long time, I will probably even re-read it. Thus the short review, I wanted to share my love of I Shall Be Near to You as soon as possible and my thoughts and emotions are still all over after finishing this novel last night! Read it!! I Shall Be Near To YouI Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing, I loved this book and I couldn't put it down, finished it in two days! Rosetta isn't your typical women, and when her husband leaves to fight in the Civil War she doesn't want to stay behind and do her mother in laws mending. Disguised as a man, she joins her husbands regiment, and fights with him and her childhood friends. Based on letters and research of real women who fought in the Civil War this is a entertaining, informative and heart wrenching novel. The love story between Rosetta and her husband Jeremiah is beautiful and real and I loved the flash backs to their younger years. Fighting together only makes their bond stronger and the author does a fantastic job showing this growth - you really become invested in the characters!
If you read one book in 2014 read this one - its fantastic. And I rarely say this but I really want their to be a movie version as long as it stays true to the book! This story will stay with me for a long time!

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ARC Review: The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

The Wedding GiftThe Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this story, it was an entertaining read, however, I had some real issues with how the plot played out and the big revelations at the end, which dropped my rating.
Sarah Campbell is a slave in Alabama, she is also the half sister of her mistress, Clarissa. They are raised together, playing and learning along with each other but when Clarissa marries Sarah and other slaves are given to her husbands family as part of her dowery, with Sarah remaining as Clarissa's maid. Once Clarissa and Sarah leave their home plantation things take a turn and secrets are revealed.
My main issues with this book include the dialogue, which was hard to follow and confusing often times. It was also inconsistent, some times the slaves and others used a local dialect, sometimes they didn't. The novel lacked continuity in that regard.
Additionally, the treatment of the slaves was sort of puzzling. The reader was often times reminded of how harsh plantation life was and all the do's and don'ts yet the slaves all seemed to have an unusual amount of freedom.
The scandal at the end really threw me, to many things were alluded to when they could have been explained earlier in the plot and it was all summed up to neatly and things that were done seemed out of character for many of the players involved.
Overall, it was a good entertaining read just be prepared to sort of shocked at the ending.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Review - Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Help for the HauntedHelp for the Haunted by John Searles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, I have major book hangover after reading John Searles's Help for the Haunted!
"Most people, they are afraid to believe in ghosts. Me, I am afraid not to believe. Because, well, what then? If there really is nothing else-nowhere to go after this, no way to linger on this plan to finish unsettled business if we must, then that means each moment, each breath, each passing second, is as ethereal as the wind. It means all we do here on earth-the going and coming, the loving and hating-it is all for naught. So, no. Ghosts don't scare me. But no ghosts-that terrifies me.
Sylvie Mason awakes one night to hear her parents on the phone. This wan't unusual, because her parents were in an unusual business. That snowy night they packed Sylvie in the car and headed for their local church where they are murdered violently.
A year later Sylvie, living under her sisters care and an outcast in high school begins to search for the truth about her parents murders and their profession as she seeks to help investigators solve the crime.
Help for the Haunted is a creepy, thought provoking book about our deepest beliefs and family. At times I found this book a bit disjointed in the way the author moved from past to present but by the end I found it to be masterful writing, Searles weaves an amazing tale. The novels last two chapters are its finest and Sylvie was a fantastic main character, the end of her story, left me shocked, shaking and in tears. I loved this book! Pick up this creepy thriller this halloween season!
"Why do the same people who believe in these deities doubt the existence of darker spirits? I ask all of you, how can a person believe in the light but not the dark? How, when all the evidence points to the basic facts of dualities?"

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